Justin Jackson's Journal

Future Tar Heel Justin Jackson updates his path to Chapel Hill with regular journal entries at InsideCarolina.com leading up to his enrollment. In his newest entry, he recaps his front row view of the UNC-Duke experience.

The Craziest Environment
Posted by Justin on Feb 25, 2014

Thursday's game against Duke was a lot of things for me. It was a second chance, it was my last game in the Smith Center as a recruit and it was the craziest environment I've witnessed.

Originally, I found out the morning of the first Duke game that my family wasn't going to be able to make it.

We were bummed, but were fine just being able to watch it on TV together as a family. Then it was postponed, and we found out we had another chance to come to Chapel Hill. That was really exciting. Our plane arrived in Raleigh on Wednesday night. We just relaxed at the hotel that night, but got up the next morning and went to Franklin Street. We ate at Sutton's because we've been there a few times before and the food is really good.

Then we went shopping and picked up a bunch of Carolina stuff. After that, we went to the basketball offices and met with Coach Robinson. Me, my brother and sister shot a little bit on the Smith Center court and then we watched the team's shootaround.

At the game, we were seated right in front of the student risers. It was by far the best game and whole situation I've ever experienced. I got chills when they announced the starting lineups knowing that, Lord willing, I'll be in the starting lineup announcements of this game one day. I've been to other games, and other Duke games, but it was a different feeling because the next go-around, I'll be on the court.

During halftime, I had a conversation with Theo Pinson just about how close we are to being on the court for the game. We went over and talked to Justise Winslow. He was an AAU teammate of mine and is going to Duke next season. We're all friends, but once we get to our schools, we're going to be enemies. The only thing that will matter is whatever I can do to help us win. But it was cool to talk to him and hang out for a little bit.

It got to the point in the second half where it felt like the whole place was shaking, and the game was amazing. Even though they got down by 11, I never thought they were out of it because they've been playing so well lately. For a while, if Duke kept on hitting shots it looked like it might be a tough game.

When they won and the students stormed the court, it cemented it as the best game I've been to.

We did a little bit of courtstorming and I got knocked over a little bit because there were so many people coming onto the court. I stayed off the court because by the time all the students got on there it was full. At the end, though, we were on the court when they played 'Jump Around' and all that.

It's funny; we had to wait to get to the locker room because there were so many people on the court. Theo didn't. He sprinted into the locker room as soon as the team went in.

Coach Williams was excited. He was basically saying how he was glad it ended better than the Duke game I was at last year. All of the coaches were so excited and so happy. It was a lot different.

After we talked to Coach Williams and some of the players, we went to Franklin Street. When we actually got there, the cops were clearing off the road. But to see all the people in the street, it was crazy. I've never seen anything like that.

Our high school season is almost over and, if you didn't know, I've been out the last three weeks with a Grade III ankle sprain. The state playoffs start this week and I'll be able to play. The sprain I had was worse than I thought and it won't be fully healed for a while. But my doctors said that I could play as long as I make sure to wear the brace.

It's been hard not playing. I might have missed a few games as a freshman, if not in junior high. Either way, it's been a long time. We ended up losing three games while I was out and it was tough to watch, knowing that if you were there you could help them do better. It's a terrible feeling.

But I'm back now and hopefully I can help my team bring home a championship.

- Justin

Previous Entries
Jan. 10, 2014 - Road Trip to Carolina
Nov. 13, 2013 - Signing Day
Oct. 15, 2013 - Home-Schooled
Sept. 3, 2013 - Summer 'Vacation'
June 6, 2013 - Gaining A Future Teammate
April 17, 2013 - AAU Ball
April 1, 2013 - UNC Basketball Camp
March 13, 2013 - My First Week As A Tar Heel

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